Editor’s Note: This article was written and submitted by Chris Boyle.
With the blaring of sirens and the jingling of bells, the Merrick Fire Department and Chamber of Commerce paired up to produce a fun and festive event to kick off the start of the holiday season- welcoming Santa Claus to Merrick.
Scores of excited kids turned out at the Merrick gazebo by the LIRR station for the Chamber’s “Meet Santa” event, something Chamber president Randy Shotland says been a popular local tradition for the past 20 years.
“Every year, we have Santa’s visit,” Shotland said. “Ron Luparello, from the Merrick Fire Department, dresses up in his Santa suit, and he comes by fire engine, and we usually have anywhere from 300-500 kids that show up.”
Shotland said that there’s always plenty of fun waiting for everyone when they make their way down to meet Santa, and judging from the long line of kids who eagerly awaited jolly ol’ Saint Nick’s arrival, this is clearly a fact.
“We always have a good time,” Shotland said. “We have Dunkin’ Donuts, we have hot chocolate, coffee, candy, books, toys, giveaways. Plus, Serengeti Design Studios, one of our local photographers, takes photographs of the kids with Santa. There’s a slight charge, but the charge is donated to a different charity every year. This year, we’re donating it to the Kiwanis Food Drive.”
Stephanie Marshall was one of the many young men and ladies that whispered their exhaustive lists of holiday wants into the receptive ear of Santa.
“It was really nice meeting Santa and telling him what I want,” Marhsall said. “My list is so long. I want a Nintendo Wii U and a Nintendo 3DS XL, and games for both of them. [I also want] an Xbox, which I probably have a strong chance of not getting. I can’t remember all the other stuff, but I've been good, so I hope I get it all.”
Michael Stafford was another youngster who was only too happy to rattle off his Christmas list to Santa that morning.
“I told him I want an iPad for games and videos and stuff, and an iPod for music,” he said. “I hope they make those at the North Pole.”
What did you think of Santa’s visit to Merrick? Tell us in the comments section below.